This past 24 hours has been a beautiful sort of Christmas Marathon and now that the busyness of our day is over, I thought I’d take time to share it with you. I’ll give you a fair warning… this post is long and filled with lots of Christmas cheer, so be warned.
It all started last night on Christmas Eve with two Candlelight Christmas services. Sadly, the rain this year cancelled our outdoor Live Nativity which was a bit disappointing, but not sadly were the beautiful services that we had, celebrating Jesus and his birth.
Pastor Jerry encouraged us to remember that not only was God with us, He was also for us. It was a wonderful and much needed reminder after the challenges of this past year. We ended our first service by candlelight, singing some of my favorite Christmas songs.
Afterwards, I had the privilege to catch up with lots of friends. Because the candlelight Christmas Eve service at Eastport Bible Church always seems to draw community, friends and church family together. And after that, we hung around a bit and then did it all over again for the second service. Which was actually just as beautiful as the first.
We got home late and put our kids to bed. Then we stayed up late, planning for the next day and of course setting everything out for Christmas morning. I didn’t get to bed till 3am, because I was working to get all of the last minute present wrapping done. I was exhausted by the time I crawled into bed, but happy knowing the celebration that the next day would hold.
Our kids did a good job letting us sleep in a bit. We got going around 9:00am which was the time that we kicked off Christmas with our stocking presents. Based on Jeremy’s pile, stocking presents for our family mostly consists of everyone’s favorite junk food. Oh, and a nice pack of new t-shirts to fit a little practicality into the mix.
We enjoyed a little bit of down time, but mostly worked to get ready for our Christmas Day service which was at 11:00am. When Jeremy first told me that Christmas was on a Sunday, a little part of me was hesitant. Because for us, Sundays are busy and also because we weren’t sure how the turnout would be for church on Christmas Day.
But Jeremy, being super fun had a vision for the service being a celebration and birthday party for Jesus, so that is how we announced it. And overall, we had a wonderful turnout. We had church family and friends of all ages. It was extra fun because we told the families that they could show up in their pajamas and much to our delight many of them did.
Jeremy shared some great Christmas encouragement, stating that the more we anticipate, the more we celebrate. He talked about how much the world had anticipated the coming of a Savior and how much rejoicing there was when Jesus was born.
We invited the kids up to share their favorite gifts and continued to talk about this theme of anticipation with them. I would have taken pictures, but I was the one up there talking with them so I wasn’t able to do both. It was darling though.
And after that we worshipped and sang and after that we played a Christmas Bible trivia game. I’m proud to say that thanks to my upbringing in Sunday School and Awana, I got 10 out of 10.
We finished our service in about 45 minutes.
And then we gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus around two beautiful Costco cakes that we picked up. One was a birthday cake and one a beautiful Christmas cake so they were perfectly fitting for our party.
The kids blew out the candles. Jeremy estimated it was about 2020 years since Jesus was born, so that would explain our candle choice.
I’m so glad that we got to spend time with our church family today.
It really was a lovely way to spend the morning and we are so thankful for everyone that joined us in our celebration.
After helping clean up at church we came home and I got started on our traditional Herr family Swedish pancake breakfast. It was the breakfast that I always had on Christmas morning and it’s been a family tradition for us as well. This morning we enjoyed our pancakes with fresh whipped cream, bacon and some beautiful fancy pears that our dear Grammy Joy sent us. Everything was delicious.
And then it was time for presents. The first one we opened was a family gift from a very sweet woman from our church. She knit us all slippers and they were awesome! I’m pretty sure I had a pair like this growing up and so seeing us all in our hand knit slippers just really made me smile.
Present time was awesome. Over the years we’ve always slow played the whole present thing, so kudos to our kids for patiently waiting till we finally opened presents around 2:30pm in the afternoon.
Our kids enjoyed opening their presents from all of our out of state relatives. It makes me so happy to know how loved our kids are by Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who live all over the country.
It also made me happy that they were happy with the little gifts as well as the big ones. Christian’s really into card tricks so he loved the three special decks that his Grandma sent him.
Ellee got lots of clothes this year, which she loved. Grandma sent her lots of Volleyball gear as well as these crazy wedge sneakers from Justice. I tried to tell Ellee that they didn’t even make sense because she couldn’t run in them or use them for gym. But she told me they were supposed to be for “fashion” and she begged her Grandma to get them for her and so Grandma did.
She also enjoyed some toys (this year I was smart in waiting for really good sales so I wouldn’t be too irritated when she only played with them for a day), headphones and a Kindle Fire which she will use for school. And to watch shows on Netflix.
Christian got the gift of science. He has a tough teacher this year and figured that this book might help him really excel. He also got some new clothes and a new racing game. He was thankful, but probably not the most excited and that’s okay because we had a surprise coming up for him.
But before that, so I don’t forget (that is half of the reason I keep this blog, because I would never remember these things), Jeremy enjoyed some fun presents from me and the kids. His favorite was this new bike Jersey which I got him because he rides for World Bicycle Relief on Zwift (which is the coolest indoor riding program that he started doing this fall). And he spoiled me with lots of things that I love including a beautiful new diffuser for my oils, some Lush products, and Lululemon along with things that I need including a new hard drive for my computer along with a new desk.
We surprised our kids with fun big gifts this year. We always wait until everything is done and then remember that we have “one more gift” that we forgot. This year Christian got a beautiful new mountain bike (we figure he can use it through adulthood).
And Ellee got an electric scooter. We figured it would go with out other one so we could have fun taking rides together. Both kids were very happy with their “last gifts” and proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon checking them all out. This was of course after Jeremy and I spent a considerable time putting them together.
And tonight, our Christmas feast was steak. Because when we celebrate, we always do it with nice thick cuts of beef. We also enjoyed cooked carrots (like my mom always made) and bread and broccoli. Christian made up some smashed garlic potatoes for us and paired with a cold Santa Coke that rounded out our meal. It was hearty and delicious.
And that concluded our Christmas marathon. It was a busy 24 hours, but a beautiful 24 hours and I could not be more thankful for the wonderful Christmas celebrations that we enjoyed. I’m most thankful for my family and for the wonderful day that we had all together. I hope your Christmas was beautiful and wonderful as well!